Feeling stressed or depressed by our work is something which many of us have to deal with in the UK, it seems. Whilst a certain level of pressure at work is normal, and can sometimes even help us perform better, if it starts to really make us miserable then could it be time to take some action?
While some jobs are obviously more stressful than others - for example police officers, social workers or airline pilots - you may find yourself in a role which may appear to be low in stress, but still be struggling to cope. Perhaps your workload is too high, or there is insufficient support.
In fact, mental health charity Mind says that around one in six of us are feeling stressed, anxious or depressed at work, while workstress.net paints a similar picture, claiming that up to 5 million people in the UK either feel "very" or "extremely" stressed by their work.
With figures this high, it's no surprise that we've also seen a rise in the amount of recent research carried out in this area. Research conducted at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, concluded that volunteers drinking half a litre of pomegranate juice every day showed significant reductions in the level of stress hormone cortisol in their saliva.
Meanwhile, another study carried out at the Norwegian University of Life Sciences, and Uppsala University, Sweden suggested that having potted plants on your desk at work could help lower blood pressure, possibly due to the suggestion that people see plants as healthy - something which then reflects favourably on their perception of their own health.
Clearly, being under prolonged stress is unlikely to be healthy - but simply stopping work is not going to be an option for many of us. Indeed in the tough jobs climate, there are plenty of people also worried about losing their jobs through redundancy, which may then lead to concerns about how their families would cope financially if this were to happen.
So, with stress being something that we can all suffer from to a certain extent, what can we do to try and manage it better? Perhaps the most important thing to do is to acknowledge the problem in the first place – and then look at making small changes to our lifestyle that can in turn have a positive affect on our outlook.
Areas to look at could include:
• Sleep - try to get at least six hours every night.
• Exercise – being active can help boost your 'feel-good' endorphins and be a good distraction from your daily worries; aim to get some form of exercise (yoga or tai-chi are just as valid as hitting the gym) several times a week if possible.
• Eat well - plenty of fruit and vegetables, along with plenty of water instead of coffee, can help increase your energy levels.
• Share - speaking to people (whether it's your colleagues, friends, family, or a professional) can help you to gain some perspective on your problems.
• Set challenges - either at work, or in your personal life (for example, taking up a new hobby) can help you with self-esteem and positivity.
• Get your finances in order – whether it's making short term plans to budget and reduce any outstanding debt, or thinking about longer term protection such having the right life insurance policy in place for your family, feeling more financially secure could help with your stress levels.
Issued by Sainsbury's Finance
Thu, 1st Jan - * A decline in risk appetite meant that UK markets were in the red on Wednesday morning ahead of the all-important policy decision from the Federal Reserve due out later this evening.